British American Customers Remain Without Answers
Friday, June 11 2010 @ 03:38 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
"They talk about 10,000 affected, because that is the number they sent abroad," said Della Tonga. The simple math of the authorities estimates it would take about $14 million dollars to make all of the affected customers whole, with what the are calling an administrative failure. In addition, both Della Togna and the Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ricardo Quijano both emphasized that the decision of bankruptcy was the best alternative. Both believe that if they had not taken this step, eventually British American Insurance, based in Trinidad and Tobago, would have been able to transfer all of the funds that actually remain in Panama, in the exact same way that they did with the bonds. "We tried at all times to safeguard the interests of the customers," said Quijano.
It should be noted that government officials have placed their confidence in the Public Ministry for them to determine in the first instance who are the persons who are actually responsible for having approved the shady and irresponsible management of the company, because since 2007 the transferred bonds were not property supervised by the previous administration. But the most important action will be to seek to recover the bonds that are still in the name of Panama, who incidentally, have already been identified by authorities and which can almost completely cover the outstanding commitments with customers who have policies taken out in the country.
Editor's Comment: A couple of things jump out at me here. First of all, did you catch the "warning shot" fired towards the PRD - when they said this problem with British American should have been resolved by the previous administration of Martin Torrijos? And now it will fall to the Public Ministry to determine who is "actually responsible" for this fiasco? Duck! The other thing is that the numbers add up - almost too nicely. It would take $14 million to make everyone whole, and there's $4 million in assets plus $10 million in bonds that have been transferred (illegally?) to Trinidad and Tobago. So, they get all of that back, liquidate everything, hand out the money, and British American goes away in Panama. Neat. The only problem is that now all of this is going to take fifteen years in the courts, and by the time it's all done all of the money will have gone to lawyers. I wonder - is there a political angle to all of this? Did the guys behind British American in Panama make large campaign donations to Balbina Herrera or something? Just wondering out loud...